Finishing Strong at the Colorado Classic
Mickey earns podium finish, and Best Colorado Rider Jersey
Team Colavita | Bianchi finished the inaugural Colorado Classic on Friday, ending the 2017 season with a podium finish and the Best Colorado Rider jersey for Abby Mickey on the final day.
Both stages for the pro women included circuit courses, the first with loops around the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, before returning to town for several circuits completing 38 miles in total. Stage 2 included five laps up and around Moonstone Road, which has an elevation gain of 7,000 ft., before descending back onto Main Street finishing straight for a total of 30 miles.
Abby was part of a lead group, along with Whitney, that included Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling), and four UnitedHealthcare riders working for their captain, Tayler Wiles. Abby finished third overall, after leading solo and gaining a gap on the descent, before getting caught by Wiles and Poidevin. Poidevin crossed the line with a gap of over 2 minutes ahead, enough to easily win the overall.
The team had arrived in Colorado after a strong showing at the Cascade Cycling Classic a few weeks earlier, where Emma Grant had two podium finishes, just missing out on a win on the final day in Bend, again behind Poidevin.
“Ruth Winder (UHC) went over the top and I followed,” Abby said speaking of her podium finish. “I didn’t really attack, I pushed it on the downhill and when I looked back, I realized I had a gap. I knew that I couldn’t accelerate with Sara (Poidevin), so I just tried to hold the gap as long as I could. It wasn’t planned but it was a really hard race. The girls rode really well. I just rode my own race and didn’t think about anyone else.”
The Classic made for a return to professional road racing in Colorado with a new format that included shorter distances and circuit racing, surrounding a music festival, hoping to make it spectator friendly and less costly for organizers.
“I love the format of the race,” Abby added. “As professional athletes, we women work really hard and we race our bikes even harder. The fact that the format was circuits meant that people could see a lot of the action. I hope in the future, our stages can be a little longer, and we can have more of them!”
“Abby Mickey has found herself in a lot of breaks this season,” Director Sportif Mary Zider said of Mickey’s performance. “She’s been knocking on the door all season long, so I couldn’t think of a better race for Abby to finally get a breakthrough ride…I told the ladies before the race, ‘all the great teams finish strong.’ We came into the Colorado Classic with a mentality to finish well and to win.”
Racing in Colorado was also a special opportunity for Abby and Whitney, both Colorado residents, to be able to race in front of family and friends. Whitney Allison also had an impressive ride finishing the challenging circuit among the top riders in seventh place.
“My mom and dad have been incredibly supportive of not only my career, but it seems like they’ve adopted every teammate I’ve ever had. They both road-tripped around the US this spring/summer to see Redlands, Gila, Cascade, and even the Tour of California,” Abby added. “This was my final race with the team and my dad drove all the way down from Montana just to be at the Breckenridge day, standing at the QOM line. I can’t fully express how much it meant to me that I was able to get on the podium of my home race, with him there to see it. After the last couple of years, third place feels like a win to me.”
Friday marked the final stage race for the team of the 2017 season. The girls raced the Velorama crits later that evening, and again on Saturday before they bid farewell for the season.
“I really liked the format of the races,” Zider added. “The shorter races allowed for more animated racing and spectator viewing which is important. All we need now is a few more stages of this similar format to make this solid event, even greater.”
Reflecting on the 2017 season, Zider concluded, “Trust, confidence, and a burning desire to hold the rope for each other is what has made this team better in the second half of the season.”
Team Colavita | Bianchi would like to extend their gratitude and thanks to all of the fans and partners that supported us throughout the season, making it possible to race around the country and the world.